The U.S. Department of State issued a statement to clarify the U.S. position on the newly formed Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) alliance which includes Al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front group in Syria.
The statement said that: “Al-Qaeda has tried to trick and mislead Syrians and squander their revolt,” describing Abu Mohammad al-Jolani, the leader of Jabhat Fatah al-Sham (formerly Nusra Front) and “his gang” as “parasites on the body of the Syrian revolution.”
The statement was posted on the official Twitter of the U.S. Embassy in Sryia on Saturday, dated Friday.
The statement stressed that the U.S. believes the Nusra Front, which it has officially designated a terrorist organization, is the main leader of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham merger. It added that all groups included within this merger is considered part of Al-Qaeda’s branch in Syria.
It said that the leader of the merger was Abu Mohammad al-Jolani and that the vision of his group is dominant in the alliance while figures from other Jihadist groups such as Abu Jaber (al-Sheikh) occupy positions in name only.
The statement described the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham merger as “swallowing up the Syrian revolution from the inside.” It also said that groups such as Ahrar al-Sham and others who had fought Nusra Front were stronger defenders of the revolution.
The statement, which was signed by the Special Envoy to Syria Michael Ratney, concluded, that the US considers “Al-Qaeda to be a terrorist group that needs to be destroyed” and that it would deal with “al Qaeda in Syria in the same way it has dealt with ISIS.”
This article was translated and edited by The Syrian Observer. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.